Stingrays sting dozens at Clearwater Beach

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – More than 30 people were stung by stingrays on Clearwater Beach over the Labor Day weekend.

There were 30 stings on Saturday alone and then a handful on Sunday. Patrick Brafford is the supervisor of lifeguards at the beach.

“The thing about Saturday, is we really weren’t expecting that to happen,” said Brafford. “Saturday really caught us by surprise. We recorded just over 30 incidents, people that became injured by the stingrays.”

Many locals admit they don’t always watch where they walk.

Kayla Raddatz was visiting on the beach on Thursday with her two young children.

“I shuffle my feet because I’ve heard that is supposed to deter stingrays,” said Raddatz. “But I don’t, no, I don’t always look down.”

Steve Duffell is visiting from England. He had no idea there was any danger in the water.

“Cause I’m from the UK, I’m sort of, I don’t care too much,” said Duffell. “But obviously, you know what’s out there.”

Brafford said Labor Day weekend, the water was calm and the temperatures were hot. The combination lured the stingrays closer to the shore.

On Thursday, the purple flags indicating marine life danger were down, but the yellow flags indicating moderate surf conditions were flying.

Brafford also notes that it is stingray mating season, so if the conditions are right, they could come close to shore again. He advises beachgoers to use the so-called ‘stingray shuffle’ to avoid being stung.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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